According to Matthew 19:1-30

19  When Jesus had finished speaking these things, he departed from Galʹi·lee and came to the borders* of Ju·deʹa across the Jordan.+  Also, large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.  And Pharisees came to him intent on testing him, and they asked: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on every sort of grounds?”+  In reply he said: “Have you not read that the one who created them from the beginning made them male and female+  and said: ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’?+  So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has yoked together, let no man put apart.”+  They said to him: “Why, then, did Moses direct giving a certificate of dismissal and divorcing her?”+  He said to them: “Out of regard for your hard-heartedness, Moses made the concession to you of divorcing your wives,+ but that has not been the case from the beginning.+  I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on the grounds of sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”+ 10  The disciples said to him: “If that is the situation of a man with his wife, it is not advisable to marry.” 11  He said to them: “Not all men make room for the saying, but only those who have the gift.+ 12  For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs on account of the Kingdom of the heavens. Let the one who can make room for it make room for it.”+ 13  Then young children were brought to him for him to place his hands on them and offer prayer, but the disciples reprimanded them.+ 14  Jesus, however, said: “Let the young children alone, and do not try to stop them from coming to me, for the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to such ones.”+ 15  And he placed his hands on them and departed from there. 16  Now look! someone came up to him and said: “Teacher, what good must I do to gain everlasting life?”+ 17  He said to him: “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good.+ If, though, you want to enter into life, observe the commandments continually.”+ 18  He said to him: “Which ones?” Jesus said: “You must not murder,+ you must not commit adultery,+ you must not steal,+ you must not bear false witness,+ 19  honor your father and your mother,+ and you must love your neighbor as yourself.”+ 20  The young man said to him: “I have kept all of these; what am I still lacking?” 21  Jesus said to him: “If you want to be perfect, go sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven;+ and come be my follower.”+ 22  When the young man heard this, he went away grieved, for he had many possessions.+ 23  Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Truly I say to you that it will be difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of the heavens.+ 24  Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”+ 25  When the disciples heard that, they were greatly astounded, saying: “Who really can be saved?”+ 26  Looking at them intently, Jesus said to them: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”+ 27  Then Peter said in reply: “Look! We have left all things and followed you; what, then, will there be for us?”+ 28  Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, in the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.+ 29  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit everlasting life.+ 30  “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.+


Or “frontiers.”

Study Notes

the borders of Judea across the Jordan: This apparently refers to Perea, a region on the E side of the Jordan River, and especially the parts of Perea bordering on Judea. Jesus left Galilee and only returned there after his resurrection.​—See App. A7, Map 5.

stick to: The Greek verb used here literally means “to glue; to join (bind) closely together; to cling to.” Here it is used figuratively to describe the bond that is to unite man and wife as if with glue.

one flesh: This expression is a literal rendering into Greek of the Hebrew term at Ge 2:24 and could also be rendered “one body” or “one person.” It describes the closest bond possible between two humans. It not only refers to sexual relations but extends to the whole relationship, making the two individuals faithful and inseparable companions. Such a union cannot be broken up without damage to the partners bound by it.

certificate of dismissal: Or “certificate of divorce.” By requiring a man who was considering divorce to prepare a legal document and likely to consult the elders, the Law gave him time to reconsider such a serious decision. The intent of the Law was evidently to prevent rash divorces and to provide women with a measure of legal protection. (De 24:1) But in Jesus’ day, religious leaders had made divorce easy to obtain. The first-century historian Josephus, himself a divorced Pharisee, suggested that divorce was allowable “for any cause whatsoever (and many such causes happen among men).”​—See study note on Mt 5:31.

whoever divorces his wife: See study note on Mr 10:12.

sexual immorality: Greek, por·neiʹa.​—See study note on Mt 5:32 and Glossary.

adultery: See Glossary.

eunuchs: In a literal sense, castrated men. In this verse, the term is used in both a literal and a figurative sense.​—See Glossary, “Eunuch.”

have made themselves eunuchs: Or “have chosen to live as eunuchs.” Here “eunuchs” does not refer to males who have physically castrated themselves or have been emasculated. Instead, these voluntarily remain in a state of singleness.​—See Glossary, “Eunuch.”

One there is who is good: Or “There is only one who is good,” that is, God. Jesus here recognized Jehovah as the ultimate standard of what is good. God has expressed and defined what is good by means of his Word, the Bible.​—Mr 10:18; Lu 18:19.

neighbor: See study note on Mt 22:39.

Jesus said to him: Jesus saw how earnest the young man was and, according to Mr 10:21, “felt love for him.” So possibly realizing that the man would need to cultivate a greater degree of self-sacrifice in order to become a disciple, Jesus told him: sell your belongings and give to the poor. Unlike Peter and others who said that they had left everything to follow Jesus, this young man could not part with his possessions to become a disciple.​—Mt 4:20, 22; Lu 18:23, 28.

perfect: The Greek term used here can mean “complete” or “faultless” according to standards set by an authority. (See study note on Mt 5:48.) In this context, material possessions were preventing this man from being perfect, or complete, in his service to God.​—Lu 8:14.

easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye: Jesus is using hyperbole to illustrate a point. Just as a literal camel cannot go through the eye of an actual sewing needle, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom if he continues to put his riches ahead of his relationship with Jehovah. Jesus did not mean that no wealthy person would inherit the Kingdom, for he went on to say: “With God all things are possible.”​—Mt 19:26.

re-creation: Or “regeneration; renewal.” The Greek word pa·lin·ge·ne·siʹa is composed of elements that mean “again; anew; once more” and “birth; origin.” The ancient Jewish writer Philo used the term with reference to the renewal of the world after the Flood; Jewish historian Josephus used it regarding the reestablishment of Israel after the exile. Here in Matthew’s account, it refers to the time when the rule of Christ and his corulers will bring to the earth a renewal of the perfect conditions enjoyed by the first humans before they sinned.

Son of man: See study note on Mt 8:20.

judging: This harmonizes with other verses that indicate that Christ’s corulers will share with him in judgment. (1Co 6:2; Re 20:4) The combination of ruling and judging is in harmony with Biblical usage, which at times uses the term “judge” with the more general meaning of “ruling over” or “governing.”​—Jg 2:18; 10:2; Ob 21.

a hundred times: Although a few manuscripts read “many times,” the current reading has stronger manuscript support.​—Compare Mr 10:30; Lu 18:30.

inherit: See study note on Mt 25:34.


East of the Jordan​—Perea
East of the Jordan​—Perea

This photograph shows part of the area known as Perea. This region was located east of the Jordan River. It extended to Pella in the north and to east of the Dead Sea in the south. The term “Perea” does not appear in the Bible. However, the term comes from a Greek word meaning “the other side; across; beyond.” This Greek word is used several times in the Bible and sometimes with reference to the region of Perea. (Mt 4:25; Mr 3:8) People from Galilee at times traveled through Perea on their way to Jerusalem. Toward the end of his ministry, Jesus spent some time teaching in Perea. (Lu 13:22) Later, Jesus again traveled through Perea on his way to Jerusalem.​—Mt 19:1; 20:17-19; Mr 10:1, 32, 46.

(1) Jordan River

(2) Plains east of the Jordan River

(3) Mountains of Gilead

Certificate of Divorce
Certificate of Divorce

This certificate of divorce, dated 71 or 72 C.E., was written in Aramaic. It was found on the north side of Wadi Murabbaat, a dry riverbed in the Judean Desert. It states that in the sixth year of the Jewish revolt, Joseph, son of Naqsan, divorced Miriam, daughter of Jonathan who was living in the city of Masada.


In Jesus’ day, the camel was one of the largest domesticated animals in the region. The Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius), thought to be the one generally referred to in the Bible, has only one hump. The first mention of the camel in the Bible relates to Abraham’s temporary residence in Egypt, where he acquired a number of these beasts of burden.​—Ge 12:16.